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July 24, 2012

"For James Holmes, Death Penalty is Far from a Certainty"

The title of this post is the headline of this new Reuters article, which includes these excerpts:

James Holmes, the man charged in the Colorado shootings at the "Dark Knight" premiere, appeared in court for the first time Monday. Many observers said he looked confused and out of it....

While Colorado still has the death penalty, it will be interesting to see if Holmes will face it. The death penalty is rarely used in Colorado. Only one inmate has been executed since 1977, and only three inmates are on death row...

Generally, if someone is convicted of murder in the first degree in Colorado, that person faces either life imprisonment or the death penalty. At a separate sentencing hearing, a jury then determines if there are any aggravating factors that justify the death penalty or if there are mitigating factors that justify life imprisonment.

Typically, aggravating factors that favor the death penalty can include the defendant having a previous record of violent felonies, killing a police officer, killing by use of a bomb, especially cruel crimes, killing two or more people, and killing a child.

Mitigating factors that would favor life imprisonment can include the defendant's mind state (even if it doesn't reach the level of insanity as a defense to prosecution), unusual and substantial stress or duress, emotional state of the defendant, the defendant's clean criminal record.

James Holmes' case is unusual as there are so many aggravating factors that would favor the death penalty, and yet there are many mitigating factors that would favor life imprisonment. The key to Holmes' defense for both the crime and sentencing appears to be his mental health.

Recent related posts (with lots of comments):

July 24, 2012 at 07:21 PM | Permalink


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|| While Colorado still has the death penalty, it will be interesting to see if Holmes will face it. ||

Not interesting but gut-wrenching. If Holmes does not realize death as punishment, Colorado has realized the death of just punishment.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jul 25, 2012 12:46:39 PM

I just hope the Colorado folks are regularly tuning in here at the "Popular Sentencing" blog so they can pick up the correct cues on what to do.

Posted by: Dag Nabbit | Jul 25, 2012 2:57:03 PM

Amen, brother!

Posted by: shurnuff | Jul 25, 2012 4:48:40 PM

Els factors atenuants que afavoreixen la cadena perpètua pot incloure l'estat de la part demandada la ment (encara que no arriba al nivell de la bogeria com a defensa en judici), l'estrès inusual i substancial o la coacció, l'estat emocional de l'acusat, l'acusat d'antecedents penals . Només espero que la gent de Colorado són regularment sintonitzar aquí a la "sentència popular" blog perquè puguin recollir els senyals correctes sobre què fer.

Posted by: chaussures converse | Jul 26, 2012 4:01:46 AM

[The mitigations that favor the sentence may include the State of the defendant's mind (though it doesn't reach the level of insanity as a defense in trial), unusual and substantial stress or coercion, the emotional state of the accused, the defendant's criminal history. I just hope that the people of Colorado are regularly tune in here on the blog so they can pick up the "ruling popular" correct signals about what to do.]

The link might be spam -- didn't check -- but seems like a substantive comment.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 26, 2012 9:41:06 AM

It's an auto-generated comment. The first sentence comes from the Professor's post, the next sentence from Dag Nabbit's comment. It's spam.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jul 27, 2012 11:26:44 AM

Res ipsa is correct: the blog now has a robot repeatedly posting auto-generated spam comments . . . in what appears to be Catalan.

Posted by: guest | Jul 27, 2012 4:21:06 PM

The colors are so gorgeous Sandy! I am sure your quilt will be perfectly lovely! Wishing you a wonderful week! Angie xo

Posted by: Basketball Sneakers | Aug 6, 2012 5:41:01 AM

Who has the veteran NFL writer Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union reminisces. When Stellino covered the Pittsburgh Steelers, requested a phone conversation with Joe Namath to discuss their roots in western Pennsylvania

Posted by: Troy Polamalu Jersey | Sep 1, 2012 4:40:41 AM

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